[StBernard] Val Riess Park Grand Opening Festivities Sunday, Aug. 23

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Thu Aug 13 20:19:11 EDT 2009

Grand Opening festivities planned Sunday, Aug. 23 for Val Riess Park

Family concert, contests and tours kick off a week of Katrina Anniversary

St. Bernard Parish President Craig P. Taffaro Jr. and the St. Bernard Parish
Council will host Grand Opening festivities on Sunday, Aug. 23 at 6:30 p.m.
at Val Riess Park in Chalmette to kick off a week of events commemorating
the parish's recovery and growth as we mark Hurricane Katrina's Fourth

The first phase of the 33-acre facility in the heart of Chalmette represents
the first $5 million in work for a premier recreational complex that will
see more than $20 million in construction before it is completed.

"The opening of Val Riess Park should be a fun time for families to tour and
enjoy a first-class facility that will be a critical engine for our parish's
growth," President Taffaro said.

The event will begin with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 6:30 p.m. There will
be a Speed Pitching Contest for children ages 5 to 17 from 6:45 to 7:15
p.m., and a Dizzy Bat Contest for adults from 7:15 to 8 p.m. Trophies will
be given to the winners. There will be space walks for children, and the
band August Rush will play from 7 to 9 p.m. with a break at 8 p.m. for a
brief Lighting Ceremony. The two-story concession stand/scorers' facility
will be open for tours. Refreshments will be served.

The work at Val Riess at the northern end of Palmisano Boulevard in
Chalmette - financed by a combination of FEMA and Community Development
Block Grant funds - is being done in four phases that ultimately will
include eight baseball fields, two large concession stands, a 40,000-plus
square foot massive multi-purpose building and a mini-water facility.

"This facility will aid in the recovery of our parish in many ways," said
Donny Bourgeois, Director of Parks and Recreation for St. Bernard Parish.
"In addition to our recreational and All-Star games, we are going to host
baseball and softball tournaments, regional tournaments, World Series and
adult cabbage ball and softball leagues."

Work on Phase 1 that started at the end of 2008 includes four new baseball
fields, a concession stand, covered seating and a shelter house/pavilion for

Thigpen Construction was in charge of the Phase 1 work. Meyer Engineers
designed the project, and CDM is the program manager in charge of oversight
of all FEMA permanent repairs and replacements of buildings and
infrastructure on behalf of the parish. Diana Goin is the parish's resident
inspector from public works for the project.

The trail that encompasses the park's exterior perimeter is still under
construction and will have 9-foot lanes dedicated to both cyclists and

Phase 2, which is being advertised for bid, will feature four baseball
fields with two being designed to host high school and college games. This
phase will feature a three-story concession stand that has the potential to
include a climate controlled bistro for eating and viewing the games on the
third floor.

Phase 3 will include the 40,000-plus square foot multi-purpose building that
will host events, such as basketball tournaments, professional boxing and
auto/boat shows. The facility, which will be nearly four times larger than
the current Grand Ballroom at the Frederick Sigur Civic Center, will also be
available to host trade shows, conventions and Mardi Gras balls.

Phase 4 will include a water park with a FlowRider, a sheet wave attraction
used for surfing.

For more information about the Recovery and Growth of St. Bernard Parish,
please visit our website at www.sbpg.net.


Val Riess Grand Opening Family Festivities

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Schedule of Events

6:30 p.m.: Ribbon Cutting

6:30-9:00 p.m.: Facility tours and space walks/jumps for

6:45-7:15 p.m.: Speed Pitching Contest for children ages

7:15-8:00 p.m.: Dizzy Bat Contest for adults

7:00-9:00 p.m.: Concert by August Rush

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